The University Record, November 12, 1997

Assembly Roundup

Editor's Note: The following is a roundup of items discussed and actions taken at the Oct. 27 Senate Assembly meeting.

By Jane R. Elgass

 

Members vote yes on tobacco divestment

Senate Assembly members approved a statement that recommends the Regents be asked to divest of any holdings in tobacco-related companies. Approval of the statement, put forth by Bunyan Bryant, follows discussions over the past 18 months and a report that was submitted to the group at the September meeting. That report included the following statement:

"Based upon research and discussion with individuals of authority and knowledge in the field as demonstrated in the accompanying report, Senate Assembly supports the concept of divestment from tobacco-related investments and urges the Regents to establish a University policy of divestment."

The University currently has about $18.8 million of holdings in six different companies that are tobacco manufacturers and/or suppliers, according to Norman G. Herbert, associate vice president and treasurer. That represents (as of Sept. 30) only about .07 percent of the University's $2.9 billion portfolio.

 

Commitment to diversity affirmed

Assembly members also endorsed the following statement that was prepared by the group's Committee for a Multicultural University just before a lawsuit was filed against the University for its admissions practices. Committee members noted that it was particularly important in light of the lawsuit that the faculty go on record as supporting diversity on campus.

"Be it resolved that:

"The University of Michigan Senate Assembly, in harmony with its previous statement on diversity, endorses the following statement by University President Lee C. Bollinger who, speaking on behalf of the students, faculty and staff of the University of Michigan, said:

'Our mission and core expertise is to create the best educational environment we can. We do this in part through a diverse faculty and student body.'

"The Senate Assembly commends the Office of Admissions and the University administration for their dedication to seeking a diverse student body, faculty and staff at the University of Michigan, and fully supports their continuing to do so."*

 

Assembly briefed on priorities for coming year

Lewis Kleinsmith briefed Assembly members on the activities of three committees and two newly formed study committees.

He noted that the study groups are being formed outside the normal committee structure to look in depth at two issues:

 

Study Group on the Changing Nature of the Professoriate. This group will address such issues as the potential impact of the growing number of clinical and research track appointments, the roles served by these faculty, monitoring and balance of the appointments, and whether they represent a threat to tenure.

 

Study Group on Faculty Role in Undergraduate Admissions. The recently approved Principles of Faculty Involvement in Institutional and Academic Unit Governance specifies that student admissions are a primary responsibility of faculty. This group will determine the role currently played by faculty in undergraduate student admissions, whether changes are needed in procedures, and determine if the role of faculty in undergraduate admissions is important enough to warrant establishment of a permanent Assembly committee on the topic.

To volunteer for either of these groups, contact the Faculty Senate Office, 764-0303, or send e-mail to senate.office@umich.edu. Send comments and concerns to lewisk@umich.edu, professoriate@umich.edu or sacua.admissions@umich.edu, as appropriate.

 

The Tenure Committee this year will focus on developing minimal standards and guidelines for tenure across the schools and colleges. Currently, the tenure-granting process varies dramatically from unit to unit, department to department. The committee will work to draw up basic due process requirements that would apply to all units.

Areas to be reviewed include notice of how tenure can be achieved, knowledge of where a candidate stands in achieving tenure, and adequate as well as non-discriminatory efforts by a unit when gathering materials in support of a candidate.

The aim of the standards and guidelines is demystifying the process for new faculty and encouraging academic units to follow an equitable process.

Comments and concerns can be sent to Chair Charles Garvin at charlesg@umich.edu or lewisk@ umich.edu.

 

The Committee on the Economic Status of the Faculty will continue to work to develop a Universitywide compensation policy and work with the provost in finalizing the document. Last year, to improve communication with the Benefits Office, the group met with representatives of that unit, resulting in a monthly newsletter on benefits for the faculty. The group also met with Benefits Office representatives this fall to discuss the 1998 benefits package and the handling of the M-CARE preference initiative last year.

 

The Budget Study Committee will focus on examination of the funding of building renewal, the University's operating budget for recent years and instructional budgets to determine the actual cost of instruction and the effect of these costs of introducing technology into all classrooms; developing a cost-benefit analysis of replacing branch libraries with a central library; and examining the effects on the budget of ending mandatory retirement. Comments and concerns can be sent to Chair Wilfred Kaplan, wilkap@umich.edu, or SACUA liaison Gordon MacAlpine at gmm@astro.lsa.umich.edu.

*The previous position was a statement in support of diversity adopted by the Assembly in May 1996:

"Senate Assembly believes that the University of Michigan must be open to, and provide a supportive environment for, all qualified persons without regard to characteristics such as age, color, creed, cultural background, gender, national origin, physical disability, race, religious affiliation or sexual orientation. Senate Assembly urges the faculty of the University of Michigan to commit themselves to removing the barriers that traditionally have been encountered by individuals from underrepresented groups, to accepting such individuals as full and respected members of the academic community, and to enabling them to progress, thrive and succeed in their profession. Thus, Senate Assembly invites all to join enthusiastically with it in this effort."